The National Lottery funding body, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and the National Trust have joined forces. They will find and back ambitious and sustainable solutions to protect and enhance public parks with a green spaces fund.
The Future Parks Accelerator (FPA) is a UK-wide £10m strategic initiative to enable up to eight local authorities and communities to develop and implement bold and innovative funding and management solutions for all their green spaces across their place, against a challenging backdrop of financial uncertainty.
The scheme is now open for Expressions of Interest. Applications close at 12pm on 19 November 2018.
How will it work?
The FPA will support places to grow the contribution parks make to civic life whilst becoming financially sustainable. It will involve discovering how parks and green spaces could be better used. It will also involve managed and funded to serve community needs and aspirations now and over the next generation.
With grant funding and support from a team of experts, the places chosen to be FPA pioneers will work as a cohort to:
Catalyse and share innovation
Learn rapidly together
Build their capacity to lead for ambitious change both in their place and to benefit the rest of the UK
It will encourage new partnerships whilst supporting the role of local authorities with green spaces. It will promote an holistic approach. This ensures that all parks and green spaces in an area receive protection and enhancement to deliver quality and fair access to green spaces. For free, for everyone.
The initiative will run over two years and combine £5m in HLF grant funding with £5m in value of National Trust expertise. It opens for expressions of interest today, with a deadline of midday, Monday 19 November. Several places will then receive an invitation to submit a full application later this year with decisions on which places will receive support made in February 2019.
Leaders committed to enabling positive change
Ros Kerslake, HLF’s CEO said:
“Our ambition is simple. We want to grow and secure the future of our public parks. This is so generations in times to come will have access to the wide range of benefits they provide.
There are big challenges facing parks but equally big opportunities. This strategic initiative will help everyone invested in parks to take action and find new ways to ensure they have safeguarding. This is so they are able to fulfil their potential to deliver health and wellbeing. These insights stem from over £950m of National Lottery investment in 900 park projects over 20 years. It is also from our recent combined investment of over £3m in parks innovation.’
Hilary McGrady, director-general of National Trust said:
“The National Trust began in the 19th century to protect urban green space from development for everyone to enjoy. Those founding principles remain as relevant today as public parks. Green spaces are again under significant pressure, this time from budget cuts.
“That’s why we have strong committment to offering our expertise and experience to help councils and communities. This is to find long-term solutions which will not only safeguard their public green spaces, but allow them to thrive. There’s no one size fits all approach and different places will have different opportunities and challenges. We look forward to working with ambitious local authorities to find a way to look after these wonderful places. They bring millions of people together to enjoy nature, the outdoors and a sense of freedom.”